Excerpt from Google's terms of service
Google's terms of service includes a reference to users giving Google rights to materials they upload. Some have interpreted that to mean that all content stored in the new Google Drive service automatically would become the intellectual property of Google Inc. However, Google says it has no intention of taking away anyone's rights, and it says the language is there simply so it can deliver requested services.
The terms of service cover a range of Google products, including Gmail.
Here's what the passage in question says:
"Your Content in our Services
"Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.
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